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Websites globally hit by major internet outage

Multiple outages hit social media, government and news websites across the globe on Tuesday morning, with some reports pointing to a glitch at U.S.-based cloud computing services provider Fastly.

High traffic websites including Reddit, Amazon, CNN, Paypal, Spotify and the New York Times were listed as experiencing problems by outage tracking website Downdetector.com, although several appeared to be coming back up.

The United Kingdom’s attorney general tweeted that the country’s main gov.uk website was down, providing an email for queries.

Fastly, one of the world’s most widely-used content delivery network providers, said “the issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.” The cloud computing services provider, which offers CDN, edge computing, cloud storage services added that “we’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services”.

Sites affected

Amazon.com, Reddit, Twitch, Spotify, Pinterest, Stack Overflow, GitHub, gov.uk, Hulu, HBO Max, Quora, PayPal, Vimeo and Shopify are some of the big names. Prominent news websites impacted were the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, CNN, and Verge, to name some.

Most users would have seen a 503 error when trying to access these websites, indicating that the browser was not able to access the server.

Platforms such as Netflix, Facebook, Amazon — ones with large quantities of data held in global libraries — host their geographically relevant content closer to where that content is to be consumed. This ensures the end customer is able to access the content faster. Another reason companies rely on these CDNs is to help protect their sites against traffic spikes, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, etc.

This is not the first time that an issue with CDN has caused many other dependent websites to go down. Previously in 2020, Cloudflare, another leading global cloud platform, had faced issues that impacted its client websites. The Cloudflare glitch resulted in sites such as Discord, Feedly, Politico, Shopify, and League of Legends going down.

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